MITHI: Islamkot police booked five security guards of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) on Thursday after a day-long protest by the family and relatives of a worker, Dodo Bheel, allegedly tortured to death by them.

The protest was continuing till late in the evening as the bereaved family kept insisting on arrest of the nominated suspects.

The family, along with several hundred men, women and children belonging to the Bheel community, marched through the streets of Islamkot carrying the victim’s body. They blocked the Thar Coal Road for more than 15 hours demanding arrest of the security guards.

They told local reporters that Dodo Bheel and some other workers of the company had been subjected to “intense torture” for several days by the guards over alleged theft. They said Dodo was rushed to the Hyderabad Civil Hospital for treatment of multiple injuries. He succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, they added.

Soon after his death was pronounced, Abdul Aziz Halepoto, Fakir Munawwar Sagar, Subhan Samejo, Nand Lal Bheel, Malo Bheel, Naseer Noon and others led a big protest rally and demanded action against SECMC executives and the security guards.

They claimed that Dodo Bheel and some of his fellow workers had been kept in detention for 14 days accusing him of stealing scrap from the store of Thar Coal’s Block-II. They said Dodo was handed over to the Islamkot police only after his condition turned critical due to inhuman torture. PPP MPA from Islamkot Fakeer Sher Mohammad Bilalani visited the protest site and called for registration of an FIR against the guards and their employers.

Another PPP leader, Shushil Malani, also joined in the protest along with other party workers.

Tharparkar SSP Hassan Sardar Niazi threatened the participants with stern action if they did not end their protest. He, however, agreed to get their FIR registered.

On his part, a spokesperson of the SECMC condoled the death of Dodo Bheel and said the company upheld human rights of all its workers and pledged every possible support in an impartial investigation into the incident.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2021

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